Friday Future Leaders: Jessica Scorpio & The Big Idea|
You may not be superwoman but you shouldn’t be afraid to think big. Really big. “Affecting a billion people” big.
That is exactly the challenge that Google founder Larry Page gave the class of 2009 at Singularity University: to pick an idea that could impact one billion people within the decade.
A challenge like that seems right up there with trying to boil the ocean. Rather than getting caught up addressing a problem that is too big and too systemic to ever change, one particular student in the Singularity audience saw a global issue and how it could be tackled locally first. Jessica Scorpio felt that transportation and the overpopulation of cars around the world was a serious problem. She believed that if she could get enough people to share their cars, she would be able to reach one billion people.
Challenge accepted, Larry Page.
Thus was Getaround born. Scorpio and two others, Sam Zaid and Elliot Kroo, developed Getaround to allow vehicle owners to rent their cars out for short periods of time. Cars typically sit idle 92 percent of the time, and with the number of cards doubling to two billion in the next 20 years, Getaround found an opportunity to drastically affect global sustainability.
Rather than leaving the car parked for days on end, Getaround gives car owners the ability to share their car through the web or Getaround mobile app to earn money when they aren’t using it. Those who don’t own a car get to rent from someone nearby for $3-$15/hour or $15-$60/day. A preinstalled CarKit it allows renters to access the car with GPS, Wifi and keyless remote technology. Hello 21st century technology.
I’m sure you’re wondering it…what about insurance? Or the law? Those seem like obstacles that would render this theoretically great idea nearly impossible. Well, it took Scorpio and her team over a year to address those challenges but they didn’t let the mountain stop them. They landed a comprehensive insurance policy to provide liability, collisions, property damage and uninsured motorist protection (which has been tested, in the inevitable tragedy of being involved in any type of motor vehicle industry). And then they pushed to get AB 1871 passed in California in September of 2010, which incorporates personal vehicles to be used as part of car-sharing programs across the state.
And so Scorpio has begun her billion-person challenge one community at a time. She was highlighted by Business Insider as 14 Incredible Women to Watch in the Silicon Valley and Fortune recognized her as being amongst the top eight female entrepreneurs under the age of 25.
Scorpio deserves every accolade and them some because she and her team weren’t afraid to take on the logistical challenge of making Getaround a success, nor did they deter from attempting to change mindsets: what is valued more…ownership or accessibility? Consumption is shifting more towards the collective consumer. Think Spotify (you don’t want to own the CD you just want access to the music) or Borrowing books for you Kindle with Amazon Prime. Slowly, Scorpio is using Getaround to elicit a change in mindsets that will have a large impact on our carbon footprint, as each shared car takes 10 cars off the road and reduces personal carbon emissions by over 40%.
The next time you want to take on the world, literally, remember that it is possible. There will be challenges and obstacles that seem insurmountable. But if Scorpio is willing to take on the Page challenge to personally affect one billion people, who are we not to think big too?
And so I leave you with this:
“…the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.” -Steve Jobs
Maxie McCoy has a Bachelor’s degree and a Masters from Lehigh in Journalism and Media, respectively. She is the co-writer of Less Work More Money and has experience hosting for Fox Sports Southwest. Follow her @maxiemccoy